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Coronavirus Habits Disrupted Connecticut Piping Plovers

Steven Senne

Piping plovers had their worst nesting season in over a decade due to impacts of the coronavirus, while other threatened birds were more productive than usual. That’s according to an annual report released by the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Executive Director Patrick Comins said coastal bird species are more vulnerable to human disturbance, and increased beach activity early in the season caused problems for the piping plovers.

"We’re viewing this work as not only conserving the birds but helping to preserve access to the beaches. If we have a ‘share the shore’ mentality, there’s plenty of room for the birds and people to coexist," Comins said.

Comins said because of COVID-19 restrictions, volunteers weren’t able to secure nesting areas for the piping plovers. He said species that nest later fared better because volunteers were able to set up fencing.

The report makes recommendations to protect Connecticut bird species, including passing legislation to fund conservation.